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Dynamical approach to weakly dissipative granular collisions.


Granular systems present surprisingly complicated dynamics. In particular, nonlinear interactions and energy dissipation play important roles in these dynamics. Usually (but admittedly not always), constant coefficients of restitution are introduced phenomenologically to account for energy dissipation when grains collide. The collisions are assumed to be instantaneous and to conserve momentum. Here, we introduce the dissipation through a viscous (velocity-dependent) term in the equations of motion for two colliding grains. Using a first-order approximation, we solve the equations of motion in the low viscosity regime. This approach allows us to calculate the collision time, the final velocity of each grain, and a coefficient of restitution that depends on the relative velocity of the grains. We compare our analytic results with those obtained by numerical integration of the equations of motion and with exact ones obtained by other methods for some geometries.

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